Funded Syrian military: Court convicts Assad supporters of drug trafficking

A German court has sentenced three men to prison for drug trafficking.

Funded Syrian military: Court convicts Assad supporters of drug trafficking

A German court has sentenced three men to prison for drug trafficking. They are said to have used European ports for their business. Part of the proceeds went to the military of the Syrian ruler Assad.

The Essen Regional Court has convicted three men of drug trafficking in the millions who helped finance Syria's ruler Bashar al-Assad with their businesses. They received prison sentences of between two years and nine months and 10 years and nine months, a court spokesman said.

One of the accused had largely admitted the allegations. In his verdict, the fact that he named all the backers to the investigators was taken into account as a mitigating factor. Two of the defendants were convicted of aiding and abetting.

According to the conviction of the court, Iyad C., Mohamad Bouz A. and Abdelfateh B. formed a gang with other accomplices in Syria in order to have amphetamine and hashish produced there shipped from Latakia by container. The drugs were resold for profit in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Around $360,000 had to be paid to the Syrian army for every container that left Syria.

In order to cover up where the drugs came from, intermediate ports in Europe were initially headed for. The main organizer of the drug business, who is being prosecuted separately, is said to have recruited those convicted as accomplices. C. took care of the logistics, with A. and B. supporting him. The men sent money via hawala banking, which is banned in Germany.

Between December 2019 and November 2020, investigators discovered several containers full of drugs disguised as legal goods in the Romanian port city of Constanta. Hashish and amphetamines worth a total of around 130 million euros were confiscated. The drugs were hidden in refrigeration units, Lebanese soap or bananas.

A fourth man was also charged. Fouad S. was accused of accompanying his father C. to hawala bankers. The case against him for money laundering was dropped against a monetary condition.

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